Philippines, Thailand condemn Singapore's reported exclusive tour deal with Taylor Swift


The Singapore leg of Taylor Swift's "Eras Tour" has come under fire for reportedly excluding other countries in the ASEAN region from hosting her performances.

Week-long event: On Saturday, Swift kicked off her six-day performance schedule, set to end on March 9, at the National Stadium in Singapore.

Alleged deal: Politicians in the Philippines and Thailand have criticized a purported deal that involved the Singaporean government offering concert promoter Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) subsidies of $2 to $3 million per show as part of an exclusivity agreement, reported Forbes.

What Thailand is saying: Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin first broke the news about the alleged exclusivity agreement that prevents Swift from holding her “Eras Tour” performances in ASEAN countries apart from Singapore, reported the Bangkok Post.

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“If she (Taylor Swift) came to Thailand, it would have been cheaper to organize it here, and I believe she would be able to attract more sponsors and tourists to Thailand,” Thavisin said during the iBusiness Forum 2024 in Bangkok. “Even though we would have to subsidize at least 500m baht ($13.98 million), it would be worth it.”

What the Philippines is saying: In the Philippines, Albay Rep. Joey Salceda, who chairs the House committee on ways and means, called upon the Department of Foreign Affairs to inquire about the claims of exclusivity, reported the Inquirer. Salceda stated that such practices are not in line with the principles of good neighborly relations.

“So, I think the DFA should send a note verbale to our counterparts in Singapore. Our countries are good friends," he was quoted saying. “That’s why actions like that hurt I think it’s also one example of the evolving nature of trade in services that we need to discuss with our neighbors, perhaps as enhancements to the ASEAN Trade in Services Agreement.”

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Singapore's response: While the Singapore Tourism Board confirmed that it "supported the event through a grant," details regarding the conditions and the amount attached to it were not disclosed. Singapore's Culture, Community and Youth Minister Edwin Tong stated the actual size of the grant given to AEG in the emerged reports is "nowhere as high" as speculated.

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